Art & Art History

University of Mississippi

Life and Work with Allie Gilmore

Today we’d like to introduce you to Allie Gilmore.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born and raised along the Mississippi River in the city of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Following high school, I journeyed down South to Oxford, Mississippi where I enrolled in The University of Mississippi to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting.

While attending Ole Miss, I completed multiple Mississippi Plein Air classes and spent my summers living out West in Colorado & Wyoming where I learned to paint the vast environments. My BFA thesis show, “Visceral Terrain” was an introduction to my deep love for abstract landscapes and thickly applied oil paint.

Immediately following Spring 2015 graduation, I ventured to Northern Ohio where I attended Bowling Green State University. There, I continued to explore the physicality of oil paint, color and my interpretation of the landscape. I concluded my two years at BGSU with my thesis show “Flora + Fauxna”, and graduated with my MFA in 2 Dimensional Studies – Painting/Drawing in May 2017.

I have been living and working out of my studio in the heart of Old Town Fort Collins since the summer of 2017. Since living here I have helped shape the newest Fort Collins fine art haven that is Bolt Gallery located within Everyday Joe’s Coffee Shop. I was fortunate enough to be the debut exhibitor of their grand opening in January 2019 with my solo exhibition “Prismatic Rhapsody”. Bolt Gallery exhibits emerging artists and takes part in the Downtown Fort Collins Art Walk every first Friday of the month.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The path of an emerging artist is not set like any other career. Unlike many other professions, there is no “right way” to become a studio artist. Even if you do go to art school, once you are out there are a million different avenues that can be taken in order to make your art-making dreams a reality. If that means taking another job in order to sustain a studio practice and losing sleep to do both, then that is what has to be done. Having to pull late nights in the studio until 2 or 3 am (that’s when I get my best work done!) and then having to wake up for other obligations is not for the weak, but sacrifices have to be made for studio work to flourish. I have definitely had my fair share of missing out on quality time with friends and family in order to “get it all done”. When you are a sole creator, you are ultimately the one who has to push pass those walls to make it all happen.

No two days in the studio are the same. Some days, I go in with a specific plan of execution and others I essentially “wing it” in terms of what will get accomplished. I strongly believe in order to succeed or get anywhere you must first simply show up. I was taught in undergraduate by my beloved painting professor Philip Jackson that you cannot sit around waiting for inspiration to strike. If you wait for “it,” nothing will ever be made. In order to develop as an artist, I have to continuously create work, even if that means making unsuccessful pieces. Those “duds” I consider to be vital in my process of creating because without those failures I cannot succeed. Over the years, I have grown more fearless towards the risk of failure.

The advice I would give to student artists is to work hard and really invest the time into projects. Care about what you are making, and put yourself out there creatively. Your faculty will notice who puts in the time and who just wants to get in and out. Your experience is ultimately up to you!

Be open to failure. Not every painting or work of art will be a masterpiece! If you go into every painting with the notion that it is precious from the get-go you are doing yourself more harm than good. If you do not fail every now and then, your repertoire of “what works and what doesn’t” will never grow.

I encourage all aspiring working artists to travel and visit museums as often as possible. It is one thing to see an amazing masterpiece via scrolling Instagram, but it is an unexplainable feeling to experience being in one’s presence.

In this day in age of being able to connect to just about anyone in a matter of a click, I suggest seeking out admired artists whose work inspires you and try to reach out to them for advice. No path is the same, especially in the arts.

I strongly emphasize the importance of surrounding yourself with a cohort of fellow creatives. I did not realize the vitality of this until after I left art school and was essentially “on my own” without the stream of constructive criticism that critique classes provided. I have a handful of trusted fellow female artists sprinkled throughout the country that I can call or text when I’m feeling doubtful, need a second pair of eyes, or simply want to share in some good news. Our work may distinctively differ, but in the end, we all experience the similar highs and lows of being a creative.

Please tell us more about your artwork, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am a painter and mixed media artist that strives to move beyond the notion of what paint can do to create an image and rather engages in the idea of what a painting can become through the exploration of its physicality.

My subject matter has come to fruition through an experimental studio process conceived through my fascination with texture, oil paint, color and the interpretation of the landscape and natural world.

Traditionally oil paint is known within the fine art community as a sort of upper-echelon material. It is expensive, rich in pigment and has an incredibly slow dry time, which can all make it out to be an intimidating medium. This is in contrast to acrylic paint that is affordable, has a plasticky finish and dries immediately. The way I handle, manipulate and apply oil paint immediately detaches myself from its classical ways.

Currently, I am challenging myself to create pieces that practice a variety of approaches all while utilizing only 3 media: oil paint, resin, and fiberglass. I see myself as a sort of alchemist in the studio while exploring these materials in tandem.

My work also embodies an attraction to the contradictions that are relevant through those unlikely media combinations:

– Visual lightness + delicacy: which is created as pieces float freely in the space,
but are made out of industrial fiberglass that normally does not take to an organic shape.

– Handling + manipulating slow-drying oil paint: essentially freezing it in time.

– While the forms could be compared to organic elements their festive color palettes are as far away from any local or natural color.

These contradictory combinations stem from my interest in the process, no matter how opposing the forces may be. I enjoy disobeying these traditional “rules”, pairing the unlikely through trial + error, and embracing the unexpected.

Pricing:

  • Paintings (depending on size + medium) range from $175-$1700
  • Commissions prices are upon request

Contact Info:


Original Article and Photo from VoyageDenver